No matter how good your animal care is and regardless of all things being right in the world, sometimes we just need a veterinarian to take care of things that aren't right with our animal's health. Yesterday was such a day for Cinder.
Cinder developed some symptoms which initially seemed to point to nothing significant-most likely expelling some worms after being dewormed a week before we picked her up. However, as the week progressed, she developed a few more symptoms which could still point to a case of worms, but I was starting to think of other possibilities. Yesterday, Cinder woke up with a rather subdued tone from her previous days, but she wolfed down breakfast. Then she had to potty and tried to go to the door, but just in front of it, couldn't wait and started a little puddle until I got to her and outside we went. Outside, she tried to pee repeatedly and nothing came out (very easy to see and fresh snow makes confirmation easy). Then she tried to have a bowel movement and strained repeatedly to no no avail. We came inside and a few minutes later, she was acting like she was going to vomit, but again, nothing but the motions. We went outside several times and bless her for trying, nothing happened. We came in and she started to play but quickly ran out of energy and THAT is not Cinder. She's an Energizer girl-she keeps on going and going until she just can't. When she came to me and layed on my feet in a ball, I knew most certainly that she didn't feel well. Combined with her other symptoms, I felt sure we were dealing with a case of worms or some kind of urinary infection, but the possibilities are endless and I'm not a veterinarian so it was time to call one.
We got into the veterinary clinic yesterday afternoon and saw my favorite veterinarian for the last 10 years. I was so glad we got lucky to have Dr. G. Cinder had slept for two hours before our clinic visit and essentially slept through most of her exam despite the things Dr. G. did and the assortment of noises, sights and sounds that usually excite a puppy. We discussed Cinder's symptoms and the exam revealed a fairly common minor issue-"juvenile/puppy vaginitis." Essentially the vulva and vaginal area becomes inflamed and causes some generally mild discomfort, but typically cures itself and requires no veterinary interventions. However, some cases can cause more moderate or severe symptoms and discomfort so some intervention may be required. Cinder's case needed some medication because her symptoms were too severe to ignore. Apparently this is a common thing in female pups six weeks to six months old-prior to their first heat cycle. Once they have a heat cycle or are spayed, it apparently doesn't recur, hence the name "juvenile vaginitis." They don't know why or what causes it although a couple things are known to be possible causes: getting some foreign object (piece of dirt or feces) in the vulva and causing the irritation. That isn't necessarily a cause, but can be. It's not contagious so it's not contracted by being around another animal with it. Even when it causes severe symptoms and discomfort, it's a pretty minor issue. Prognosis is she should improve within 24-48 hours of the first pill. Otherwise, Cinder's perfectly healthy and everyone in the clinic loves her.
Today, Cinder's still got a few symptoms but overall, she's bright and energetic again; full of the devil that a Border Collie puppy can be. We've already had a very good little training session in which she has learned a new item ("down") and we're starting a little game of varying what I ask for to see she really is connecting the right actions with the commands as we do things like, " watch me, sit, down, sit and watch me." She is a sharp little thing and so are her little puppy teeth! My arms and hands look like I've been through a briar patch!
She's started chasing tennis balls and watching her as she does is fun-especially since the ball and her head are about the same size! This morning's ball chase game included a new approach: STALKER MODE! Full on stalking the ball in the reknown Border Collie crouched stalking stance is fully engaged! At seven weeks old, she's crouching, moving forward one foot carefully placed at a time, intensely focused on the prey and the climactic POUNCE, with a nose bump sending the ball rolling to its new position; then the game begins anew. I think we can agree that since she's never seen the big dogs in that stalking mode, she is seriously genetically preprogrammed with it. This could mean I have my work cut out for me to keep her busy enough to be happy. Gilley was challenging eight years ago, but we've both slowed down considerably so Cinder will be some serious work on my part for the next two years. This is one of those times I really wish we'd found the small farm we wanted, but one makes do with what one has and friends with big farms is one of those things.
Admittedly, I am now feeling my age as the week of Cinder care progresses. I'm getting more sleep at one time than we started out, but it's not really feeling like it. I can't wait until she can do five whole hours in a crate at night before she wakes and MUST potty. However, I'm glad she's got the hang of house training enough that she won't go potty in her crate. Just wishing for the five hour stretches! Momma needs a little extra hour of sleep after a hard day of puppy play! Losing a little sleep and having hands and arms that look like I've been through razor wire are only a few minor challenges of the many ahead while raising Cinder!